“Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” ~John 14:1-3
Jesus tells his apostles that the solution to their despair regarding his departure is found in his promised second coming. He expects his followers to put their trust, their faith, in his power. And he shows them (us) that his departure is not just an exit from humanity, it is a continuation of his work on their (our) behalf. He is going to prepare a place. That’s a promise that his work is continuing until that time we are eternally united with him in heaven.
Let’s don’t misunderstand Jesus to be saying he’s going to build the rooms. The rooms are already built. It’s done. The Father already has the rooms ready. Instead, it’s in Jesus’ return to the Father — his death, burial, resurrection, and ascension — that the way to these rooms is being constructed. The road to the heavenly rooms is built by Jesus’ departure.
Heaven is waiting for us. Wow. It’s done. It’s ready and it’s waiting. The work is finished. We anticipate that perfect fellowship with God in Christ. We’re beside ourselves with expectation for eternity. We can’t wait. We’re anxious for it. It’s ready and it’s waiting. And we’re almost there.
What an eternal perspective that should give us. What confidence that should give us to, as Jeff Walling says, live for the line and not the dot; live for eternity and not for the here and now.
Wheaton College professor Gary Burge in his commentary on John puts it this way:
I live in a world that continually offers me temporal securities and comforts, a world that keeps my eye on the near horizon of the present, that denies the limitations of my own mortality. My ‘life of work’ aims not simply to make a contribution to my career, but to provide a means of security in the world: a home, a stable income, an investment scheme, a retirement program. While Jesus is clear that these securities are foolish and unreliable (Matt. 6:19-20; Luke 12:13-21), here he offers a positive incentive. Our true home, our complete security, has already been built for us by him in heaven. Once we embrace the significance of this notion, our attitudes toward this world completely change.
Some of the most thoughtful and meaningful conversations I have are with the older members of our church, men and women in their late 70s and 80s. They are firm in their faith and very, very aware that their hope rests in the Lord and nowhere else. They help give me (us) that eternal perspective that keeps a check on our (my) investments in earthly rooms.